MLB

The market should open for Soriano

Share This Story

Jon Paul Morosi

Jon Paul Morosi is a National MLB Writer for FOXSports.com. He previously covered baseball for the Detroit Free Press and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He began his journalism career at the Bay City Times in his native Michigan. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

ORLANDO, Fla.

For being the best closer available on the free-agent market, Rafael Soriano hasn’t generated much news this month.

But Soriano should try very hard to keep it that way, at least for the time being.

Soriano would do himself a great disservice if he signs quickly, because the demand for him should grow in the coming weeks.

His agent, Scott Boras, is well aware of that. Boras didn’t linger at this week’s general managers’ meetings, hoping to hammer out Soriano’s next contract. He flew home late Wednesday night.

Rays at a glance

 
Tampa Bay Rays
Looking for the latest on the Rays? Get the schedule, scores, standings and more right here.
 

At the moment, very few contenders are openly searching for an expensive closer like Soriano. The Angels, widely predicted as his eventual landing spot, are one such club. But a number of others — the Braves, Indians, Brewers, Pirates and Nationals — appear willing to trust closers who have never handled the job over a full season in the majors.

Just wait, though.

The marketplace could soon be populated by the right kind of buyers.

Consider the following scenarios, none of them farfetched:

The Red Sox acquire Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks for a package that includes Jonathan Papelbon or Daniel Bard, thus leaving a major gap in the back of the Boston bullpen — in the near- and long-term. 

The Rangers lose free agent Cliff Lee to the Yankees and replace him with current closer Neftali Feliz.

The White Sox find that there are no takers on the trade market for pricey Bobby Jenks, coming off his worst major-league season. They decline to tender him a contract but keep Matt Thornton in the setup role where he has excelled.

Suddenly, the Angels would have company in the Soriano market — from large-market clubs.

Think Boras might be able to take advantage of that?

The sales pitch is ready.

Rays at a glance

 
Tampa Bay Rays
Looking for the latest on the Rays? Get the schedule, scores, standings and more right here.
 

“You want to know the impact of this closer on a team?” Boras asked over the phone early this morning. “Without him in 2009, Tampa Bay didn’t make the playoffs. With him this year, it won the division.

“Closers who convert save opportunities above the 90th percentile are rare. And he’s only 30 years of age. [Note: He turns 31 next month.] This is a rare opportunity for a team. A closer of this caliber — at 30 — is almost never in the marketplace. They are rare.

“When you don’t obtain them, and the team doesn’t win, the fans have something to point at.”

Boras frequently cites historical comparisons when negotiating with clubs. In this case, he has particularly good ammunition.

After the 2007 season, Francisco Cordero signed a four-year, $46 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

Cordero was 32 at the time. So, Soriano has the advantage of being younger.

Cordero was more durable than Soriano — by a margin of 55 innings — over the three-year horizon that preceded their respective free agencies. But Soriano’s performance was statistically superior over that span. And his best season — the most recent one — came while facing the fearsome Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays in the American League East.

Soriano isn’t drawing the same attention as fellow Boras clients Jayson Werth and Adrian Beltre. But there are some very good reasons why his negotiation might take the longest of that group.

AROUND THE HORN

•The Pirates are comfortable with their internal options at closer, Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan. But one source suggested that Pittsburgh could deal one of the two and sign a replacement.

•Something worth keeping in mind about free agent David Eckstein: His brother Rick is the Washington Nationals’ hitting coach.

•Even after agreeing to a three-year deal with Joaquin Benoit, the Tigers are looking for bullpen help. Only now, they would like to add a left-hander. J.C. Romero is one name they are considering.

•Though it’s dangerous to suggest such a thing at this time of year, the Atlanta Braves may only need minor tweaking between now and Opening Day. They would like to add a right-handed-hitting first baseman and a left fielder (maybe Scott Podsednik?) who can play part-time.

Tagged: Red Sox, White Sox, Reds, Pirates, Francisco Cordero

More Stories From Jon Paul Morosi

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..